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A San Martin man was sentenced this week to more than 33 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of a slew of violent crimes—some involving firearms—dating back to 2018.

The most recent charges against the defendant, Alfonso Castillo Navarro, 37, are related to a January 2019 “crime spree” in which he used a hatchet to damage two victims’ vehicles and led Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies and Gilroy Police on a vehicle pursuit, according to authorities.

On March 8, following a trial, a jury found Navarro guilty of 13 felony counts in relation to three different criminal incidents in Gilroy and San Martin, according to Santa Clara County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Vishal Bathija. On April 1, Superior Court Judge David Cena sentenced Navarro to 33 years, four months in prison.

Charges for which Navarro was convicted include four counts of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, two counts of illegal possession of a firearm, one count of vandalism, second degree robbery, reckless driving in the commission of a crime and willful discharge of a firearm.

Navarro has previously been convicted in 2015 of felony criminal threats, according to court records.

The recent charges against Navarro started with a road rage incident on July 12, 2018. Navarro tried to pass a vehicle on Highway 101 from the center median, and struck a passing vehicle, according to Bathija.

Both vehicles initially stopped, and an argument began. Navarro produced a handgun and fired at the victim three times. The crime was solved after investigators matched bullet casings at the incident to a firearm found on Navarro months later, authorities said.

On Jan. 8, 2019, Navarro committed robbery when he attempted to leave Home Depot in Gilroy without paying for a spool of copper wire, Bathija said. Store employees followed him outside, and when confronted Navarro pulled a handgun and fired a round into the ground.

Navarro was arrested for the Home Depot incident, but he made bail and committed even more crimes, according to authorities. On Jan. 30, 2019, a female victim was driving in San Martin with her young children, when Navarro stopped them and demanded to know why they were in the area.

Navarro then proceeded to repeatedly strike the family’s minivan with an axe, Bathija said.

Navarro fled the scene of that crime, to an estranged family member’s home in Gilroy. He vandalized the family member’s vehicle and struck her front door with the axe.

Gilroy Police en route saw Navarro fleeing the scene in a Ford Fusion, Bathija said. Sheriff’s deputies joined in the pursuit, which led authorities from Gilroy to San Martin. Navarro lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a fence. Inside the vehicle, deputies found a loaded .22 caliber revolver, ammunition, three hatchets and a compound hunting bow.

The case against Navarro was presented to the jury by Deputy DA Emann Chan.

“The defendant went on a crime spree that terrorized innocent people in our community who had the misfortune of randomly encountering him,” DA Jeff Rosen said. “The District Attorney’s Office is thankful for the collaborative work by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office, the California Highway Patrol, the Gilroy Police Department, and the Santa Clara County Crime lab to piece the evidence together and ensure this dangerous offender is held accountable for victimizing so many.” 

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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